Probably this title doesn’t make sense to any of you. But let me explain…tonight, as I went and did some laps in the pool of my conjunto (complex/neighborhood/living area), every third stroke I looked up at the moonlight above me and thought…this is what contentment feels like. Following my swim, I was asking the pool worker the length of the pool and before answering, he of course had to comment on the mascara all around my eyes (terrific impression). But then he took me around and showed me the jacuzzis (hot and cold), sauna, and “turco” which appears to be a steam room. I also discovered that there are a couple exercise classes in the little gym there and dance classes (salsa and meringue) in another room! The gym seems to have only a couple old machines and past teachers said they’re often broken, so I was planning on paying for a membership at a nice gym near the school once I have my cédula, but I love having these options so nearby. This was prefaced by an encounter at school with the kindergarten PE teacher who apparently is an excellent dancer and has taught salsa classes after school to expat teachers in the past. I know there is at least one other new teacher who is interested, so we’re going to plan on meeting after school one day a week with him to learn it.
(clockwise starting at top left) The gate we walk in, the pool up ahead, the court where kids are roller blading or playing soccer at all hours, and walking up to my house.
I also had a fun trip today to the Migration office, which may sound bizarre, but another teacher and I had to go with our Human Resources woman to do some more paperwork for our Colombian IDs. As we sat and waited (because, naturally, it took forever even though we were practically the only ones there), we laughed and talked and just had fun. I feel like I already know some of my co-workers as people, rather than just colleagues. It’s refreshing.
On the walk home from school, I stopped by a Droguería (drugstore) and they were wonderful in helping me get a B vitamin that apparently can help keep bees away from you. I’ve never heard of it, but two nurses told me and several Colombians seem to know about this. So we’ll try it!
There’s just a lot of wonderful things happening right now. So this is where the second part of my title comes in….the honeymoon. If you read up on the stages of culture shock, you’ll find that the initial stage when you’re in a new place is the “honeymoon phase”. You are pretty much jaded by everything and see only the good. Following that is an irritation/hostility phase, then you slowly adjust and feel at home. The whole process takes 6 months usually. (source)
Now, with the way last week started, I thought I had skipped the honeymoon phase. But now I realize I’ve actually started it. Yes, there are already things that irritate me–crazy, honking drivers; the humidity/lack of ac; slow services; the meat-heavy, vegetable-scarce food. But I’m also looking around me from time to time and simply smiling. (Just not when I’m on the walk to school at 6-6:15am…that’s more zombie-like.)
Let us hope this stage sticks around for awhile.